Decided on March 29,2007



J.M.MALIK,J. - (1.) THE sequence and genesis of this case is as follows. The respondent/defendant lodged a report with the police on 3.2.92 to the effect that he had been receiving threats on his telephone installed at his residence for the last 20 days from 13.1.92 to 2.2.92. The caller gave his name as Mohan Rai. The caller threatened to murder his son Amit if he did not deliver him Rs. 2,00,000/-in cash on 5.2.92 at the main gate of St. Stephen Hospital, Tis Hazari, Delhi. He also cautioned him to keep it a secret otherwise his son would be done to death. Previously, the respondent had received calls on 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 21th, 25th and 30th January 1992. The police investigated the case and challaned the appellant for offences under sections 384, 387, 506 IPC. The prosecution examined 4 PWs, Ved Prakash Gupta, respondent, appeared as PW-1, Inspector Anil Kapoor , PW-4, laid a trap near St. Stephen Hospital but the wanted culprit did not appear. Complainant had recorded the threat call of the caller in a cassette. The same was played upon in the office of the complainant, where Sri Ram, another witness PW-3, identified the voice of the accused as that of the plaintiff/appellant on 6.2.92. On 7.2.92, accused was arrested from Pili Kothi in the city. His disclosure statement Ex.PW1/D was recorded. He spilled the beans before the police. The accused was, thereafter, arrested.
(2.) SRI Ram, PW-3, testified that he was residing at the house of the accused/plaintiff as a tenant. He deposed that on 6.2.92, accused/plaintiff came to his residence and he conveyed to him that somebody was demanding Rs. 2 lakhs from Mr. Ved Prakash Gupta, the owner of the factory, where the accused used to work. The witness came to the factory along with the accused/plaintiff where the plaintiff conveyed that Mr. Gupta had received a threat regarding payment of Rs. 2,00,000/-. He further testified that in the meantime, Mr. Gupta reached the factory, some police officers also came in the factory, who interrogated the appellant and one cassette was taken into possession as Ex.PW1/B. He also testified that accused had given disclosure statement Ex.PW1/D and thereafter he was arrested. Learned MM acquitted the accused on the following grounds:- "7. During the course of arguments, the counsel for the accused rightly pointed out that PW3 is the only material witness on whose testimony the case of the prosecution could stand. But the said witness has helped the accused instead of proving the case of the prosecution. The said witness deposed that accused was called to the factory on 6.2.92 but according to prosecution version the accused was arrested on 7.2.92. Further PW3 did not depose even a single word about playing of cassette or his identifying the voice to be that of the accused. 8. Statement of PW2 is only in the nature of suspicion because the person seen by him had covered face and this witness categorically stated in his cross-examination that he could not say whether the accused was the same person whom he saw at the gate of hospital."
(3.) AFTER his acquittal, the appellant, as an indigent person, sued the respondent for recovery of Rs. 2,22,000/- for malicious prosecution. The case of the appellant is that the respondent had called him to his factory where he was beaten by the respondent and his associates. The police arrested him subsequently. The appellant remained in judicial custody for about two months at the initial stage and he again remained in judicial custody, subsequently, after he had jumped the bail. It is alleged that the respondent lodged a false criminal complaint and actively prosecuted it. He further produced false witnesses to support his false criminal complaint. The appellant suffered financial loss in defending the criminal case in the sum of Rs. 60,000/-, remained out of employment, because the respondent had made publicity that the appellant was a bad character, the appellant suffered loss of wages on account of unemployment since February, 1992 to the tune of Rs. 1,00,000/-. The plaintiff claimed Rs. 51,000/-for mental agony which he suffered due to this case. The plaintiff had sent a legal notice to the respondent to pay a sum of Rs. 51,000/-.;

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